Holding Hope for the World

Conflict in SyriaMy son, who is 22 and gets most of his news from Reddit, recently observed that the world is a mess.  I know there is truth in this statement.   There is deprivation and violence all around the world.  It appears that corporations have taken over; directing public policy toward profit-generation at the expense of people’s needs; convincing us that we are consumers who must buy our way to happiness.  The gap between the rich and poor is growing.   Our governments appear to be closing down opportunities for democratic debate and evidence-based decision-making.  We are reaching the tipping point with climate change. And yet, I remain hopeful about the world.

Bike & Pedestrian Path, Hamilton, OntarioI work with people across the country who are working to re-create our communities so we are less reliant on cars; so we can walk and cycle more.   Some promote these changes because they are good for human health; they make communities more equitable and accessible; they foster social interaction and a sense of community. Other promote them because they are more sustainable; making us less reliant on fossil fuels and reducing our impact on the climate.  So, in my work, I am surrounded by people who are working to make our communities healthier and more sustainable.

Solar Panels in Haliburton, OntarioI have a twitter account to track and share the advances in my field.  Every day I read about new pilot projects, new investments and new programs in communities around the world designed to encourage walking, cycling and public transit; bike-sharing programs, car-sharing programs, investments in separated bike lanes, walking paths and inviting public spaces.  There is a quiet revolution going on at a municipal level, sometimes with financial support provided by regional, provincial and national governments, to re-claim our communities from the automobile; a revolution that can have a profound effect on human health, the quality of life, and the environment.

Community Garden in Dundas, OntarioOn my twitter account, where I follow public health researchers around the world, I also learn about new campaigns, new research and new programs designed to extend our reach into other areas of public policy. While I do not work in these fields, I am thrilled and relieved to know that others do!  Some are working to improve access to nutritional foods in aboriginal communities.  Some are working to help decision-makers and the public understand the strong link between poverty and poor health.  Others are working to address mental health issues, alcohol abuse and drug addiction.

Nasa-Earth-WallpaperSo, the world appears to be a mess.  There are days when all we hear about are stories of war, violence, corporate greed, corrupt governments, or the antics of the rich and famous.  But there is more going on; so much more that many of us don’t hear about.  People taking care of each other.  People working to change public policies.  People working to lessen our impact on the planet and reduce inequities between people.  I find comfort in these stories.  They restore my faith in humanity.  They inspire me to act. They give me hope about life on our planet. They give me reason to believe that change can happen even in those desperate situations around the world where it seems impossible.

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About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
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8 Responses to Holding Hope for the World

  1. Pam Bickell says:

    This is so inspirational, Kim. It’s true that good people are everywhere but in the news. I’ve often thought that someone (hint, hint) should do interviews with these soulful people and write their stories into a book to enrich our lives. With beautiful pictures, too, of course. Like the ones you already take. :)
    Pam

  2. So nice to read something optimistic about the world. And I agree with Pam! It would be really interesting to hear the stories behind the stories…

  3. Oh, thank you for that little glimmer of hope. My country has just elected one of the most backward thinking leaders into government this week, and it feels like we are in the dark ages again. But you are, of course, right. Funny that these two extremes can coexist in the world at the same time…perhaps that is the point. The eternal struggle. And a beautiful mess it is.

    • kp says:

      Hi Alarna….I read something about your election this week and it was pretty depressing. It if understood correctly, the woman being pushed out was really progressive on environmental issues, and the new leader thinks that men make better leaders than women?? Our federal government is very conservative as well; backing out of climate change agreements etcetera….but there are good things going on at a local level. So that it where I am draw my hope!! I hope you can find some positive things in your country to hand on to!! Kim

      • Oh, what you read is exactly right, unfortunately. He doesn’t believe in climate change, is anti-abortion, and believes women should stay in the kitchen (effectively). Unbelievable. But. There is an upside, and that is more minor parties than ever have been voted in as well, which means he will have a hard time pushing his agenda through parliament. So there you go…Interesting times. Power to the people, hey? :)

  4. Kim, yes, there is Far more going off in the world than the News Media is letting on, for all they bring us is the BAD news and thats given us on a spoon for a reason, so that we are fearful and so more manageable … While there are lots of horrid things happening so many Good things are too.. We have to keep focused upon the positive, although at times my spirits do get dragged down, especially when I see the innocents and children suffering needlessly…. That really gets to me…
    I think the world is all be it slowly realising that it can not carry on the way it has… Somethings have to give.. as our economy collapses.. WE will all be forced in the future to look as more self sustainable methods of living and learning how to grow our own and live within nature and not keep taking… but giving back….
    A great post and Thank you for what you are doing in helping within communities within Twitter etc.. xoxox Hugs Sue

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